Since Contempt Action Was Not Taken Against Judges Who Held Press Conference, No Action Against Sibal For Case Allocation Remark- AG
The Attorney General K. K. Venugopal has refused sanction to initiate contempt proceedings against Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal for his remarks made last month against the Supreme Court.
With reference to Sibal's allegations in relation to the allocation of cases to different Benches by the CJI, the Attorney General said that four judges of the Supreme Court in a press conference had expressed these same views in relation to allocation of cases by the then CJI Deepak Mishra and no contempt action was taken against them.
"Section 16 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 a Judge can be held in contempt of his own Court. However, no contempt action had ever been initiated by the Supreme Court against the makers of those statements, and therefore in my opinion it would not be appropriate that action be initiated against Mr. Sibal", the letter issued yesterday said.
AG K. K. Venugopal quoted from the letter addressed by the four judges to the CJI thus- "There have been instances where cases having far reaching consiquences for the nation and the institution have been assigned by the chief justices of this court selectively to the benches 'of their preference without any rationale basis for such assignment. This must be guarded against at all costs."
While refusing sanction to Advocate Vineet Jindal, the AG said that Sibal's statements relating to the critiques of certain judgments would fall squarely within the purview of fair comment.
With respect to Sibal's comments including that, "After 50 years of practicing in Supreme Court, I feel I have no hope left in the Supreme Court", the AG has said that the same is not contemptuous on the face of it "as the import of those statements is the fact that the orders of the Supreme Court are not implemented on the ground. No part of these statements casts any blame or aspersion upon the Court".
With respect to the speech where Kapil Sibal had also urged people to come out on the streets and protest, and said that if people are under the impression that they will get relief from the Supreme Court, they are mistaken, K. K. Venugopal said in his letter, "Having gone through the entirety of Mr. Sibal's speech, I find that his criticism of the Court and the judgments was so that the Court may take note of the statements in the larger interests of the justice delivery system., It does not appear to me that the statements were intended to scandalize the Court or affect the confidence of the public in the institution".
Sibal had said, "Kaagaz par likhna baat alag hoti hai, uska palan karna zameen pe baat alag hoti hai. Mai iss nateze pe pahuncha hu ki jabtak samaj ka mansik soch nahi badlegi tab tak na kanoon badlega na samaj badlega. Toh aapko sadak pe aana hoga. Aur ye socho ki Supreme Court ke dwara aap ko rahat milne wali hai, app ko badi baari galat faimy hai. Ye mai 50 saal ke experience ke bad appk to ye bat bata rah hu" (Matters written on paper and what happens on the ground are different. I have come to the conclusion that until the mindset of society changes, neither the law nor the society will change. So you have to come out on the street. If you think that you will get relief from the Supreme Court, you are under a big mistaken impression. I am saying this based on my 50-year experience).
Reacting to the remarks of Sibal, the Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju had termed the remarks "unfortunate and condemnable". He had said that the way the Courts are being attacked poses a danger to the system itself.